Nature's camouflage

a giant australian cuttlefish A camouflaged giant Australian cuttlefish. Image from LiveScience; Credit: Sarah Zylinski, Duke University

Could you imagine artificial skin capable of quickly changing colors to communicate or hide? Scientists have been testing ways to mimic the skin of cephalopods like squid, octopuses and cuttlefish, which have a remarkable ability to change skin color and sometimes even texture to mimic their surroundings. Cephalopods have networks of chromatophores, which are cells within their skin that contain a pigment sac. Expanding these cells with the aid of muscles, makes the pigment expand thereby producing a darker color. In contrast, when these cells contract, the pigment lightens.

Dr. Aaron Fishman (University of Bristol, England) and his team have now designed a system that can mimic the way cephalopod skin behaves. It is activated by electricity making it more reliable and also a bit different from prior applications that relied on heat for activation. Possible applications include creating rapidly adapting camouflage or even creating designs that help a person stand out during a search and rescue operation.


Live Science

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Very interesting story.........thanks pal.